What a day!

The AT passes right through Hanover - first stop: rec center for a shower and laundry!

So, I hiked into Hanover, NH today, and while I hiked, I was thinking about how great it would be to cross another state line.  Finishing Vermont makes twelve states completed and just two to go!

As I hiked, I thought about the contrast between a day at work (at my last job) and a day at work hiking the trail.  There are some similarities (believe it or not)!  I’ll use “AT” and “JOB” to distinguish the trail and the job:

AT – 4:55 AM – Ignore the first time my alarm watch buzzes.  I can sleep another 5 minutes.

JOB – 6:15 AM – Press the snooze button when the alarm goes off.  I can sleep another 9 minutes.

AT – 5:00 AM – Alarm again!  Better get up!  Remember, you want to get some hiking in before the day gets hot!

JOB – 6:24 AM – Hit the snooze button again – you know you can use ANOTHER 9 minutes in bed!

JOB – 6:33 AM – Okay, okay!  I’m getting up!

AT – 5:02 AM – Wander into the woods to pee.

JOB – 6:34 AM – Stumble into the bathroom to pee.

AT – 5:05 AM – Mix cold water into two packets of instant oatmeal (that’s right!  directly into the packets!) and dump a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee and Cremora into the water bottle.  It’s breakfast time!

JOB – 6:36 AM – Shower, shave, get dressed in clean clothes.

AT – 5:06 AM – Shower?  Shave?  Clean clothes?  What are these things?  I’m already dressed, since I slept in my clothes!

JOB – 6:50 AM – Head downstairs for coffee (brewed automatically) and breakfast.  Maybe toast and eggs today.

AT – 5:30 AM – Breakfast is over, roll up the sleeping bag and start packing the pack.  Looks like rain today – I’d better put on the waterproof pack cover!

JOB – 7:00 AM – Ready to go!  Hmmm… looks like rain today; I’d better not drive the MG.  I’ll take the other car.

JOB – 7:05 AM – Curse the aggressive drivers!  Whay do they have to weave and tailgate??!!

AT – 7:05 AM (I’ve been hiking for an hour already.) – Curse the wet rocks and wet slippery tree roots (or the mud if this is Vermont, or the mosquitoes if this is New Jersey)!

JOB – 7:30 – Start the day with a department morning meeting.  Listen to the boss, listen to co-workers report the overnight failures and the problems expected during the day.

AT – 7:30 – Listen to the mystical, musical, morning melodies of the wood thrush.

JOB – 9:30 AM (break time) – Head into the break room and pour some coffee.  Oh!  Someone brought donuts today!  Eat one, but think about eating less and exercising more. These pants are getting way too tight!

AT – 9:30 AM (break time) – Sit on a rock or fallen log.  Pull out a granola bar or bag of trail mix.  Think about ways to eat more.  These pants are getting way too loose!

JOB – 11:30 AM – Lunch time!  Get the brown bag out of the fridge (oh goody!  it’s a roast beef sandwich today!), have more coffee, work on the daily crossword.  Chat a bit if someone else is eating lunch.

AT – 11:30 AM – Lunch time!  Get the green food bag out of my pack.  Eat peanut butter and M&Ms on tortillas.  Drink some Kool-aid mixed into the water bottle.  Work on the plan of how far to hike the next couple of days.  Chat a bit if another hiker comes along.

JOB – remainder of the afternoon – work on stuff, answer phone calls and emails, talk to co-workers, take another break sometime.

AT – remainder of afternoon – walk, take another break sometime.

JOB – 4:15 PM – Call home.  Tell Susie I’ll be 15 -30 minutes later than usual.

AT – 4:15 PM – Call home.  Tell Susie I’ll be another 4 – 5 weeks.

… and so on, ending the day at:

AT – 9:30 PM – My gosh!  It’s past hiker midnight!  I’m too tired to read another page of my book.  I’ll just sleep.  Tomorrow’s another day!

JOB – 11:30 PM – The late local news is over.  I’m too tired to stay up and watch Letterman. I’ll just sleep.  Tomorrow’s another day!

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15 Responses to What a day!

  1. I like the comparison. I think I can figure out which you would rather be doing. I’ve done that in my head, job vs. retirement, but not as humorously or in print.
    You guys are doing great! Only one more state to go!

  2. JRae says:

    It’s good to read your postings and know that you are doing OK.
    Wow, you have come a long way.

    It’s Fair time here in Sonoma County..75th year…I will be meeting Mom for a visit.
    She will arrive via Para transit and I will run along side her as she cruises in her electric chair, the fair, animals, art, wine, etc.

    • Mike says:

      I’d love to be going to fairs and other “normal” stuff! In a way, this trip is making us lose almost a whole summer, but from a “big picture” point of view, the huge AT thruhike adventure is worth giving up some things for. I’ve reached a point, though, where I’m missing the normal life more and more. I’m anxious to do the miles we have left and to “get ‘er done!”

  3. amy wolfe says:

    loved your post!! very clever! very witty!! keep on rockn it strong!! only 2 more states to go!!

  4. Megs says:

    Mike I sent Sue an article I read in the NY Times – a woman is fast hiking the AT at 48 miles/day to set a world record. When I read it I thought, how sad. That is exactly the opposite of how it should be done. You’re doing it the way it the right way. Good for you! Cant’t wait to see you and hear about all of your adventures.

    • Mike says:

      Susie told me about the article. I agree with you. There’s a hiker we know called “Delaware Dave” and he is hiking it at a pace (average) of 6 days per week he does 13 miles, and one day a week he does zero. I like his pace (but want to finish it up and get home)!

  5. SusanS says:

    Hi Mig,
    Love the comparison. I guess each has it’s high and low points! (lol) I can’t believe you’re almost done. Looking forward to talking to you about it when you’re back home. Take care. Love, Susan

  6. Beth Paulson says:

    I was right there beside you until you got to your lunch of peanut butter and M & Ms on a tortilla! Do those really taste good together? It was fun reading the piece all the way through. You get an A for “comparison and contrast.” But just what makes you so sure Susie will want you back home in 4-5 weeks?

    • Mike says:

      ANYTHING tastes good when you are as hungry as an AT thruhiker, but I seriously like PB and M&Ms – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I hope she wants me back in 4 weeks or so. I’d much rather eat HER cooking!

  7. christopher says:

    will try the cold water into instant oatmeal packet
    and the MM/P-butter on tortilla gourmets !!
    big yay on new hamster !!!
    happy trails…

  8. Gordon says:


    This is hilarious! I can only imagine the AT part but the JOB part is oh so true. Only 373 miles to go, wow! All the best to you and Melissa!

  9. Mel says:

    I never read this whole post before! Love it LT!

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